Famed Jazz Pianist Horace Silver Passes Away at 85

by / June 23, 2014 Black News 50 Comments

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Horace Silver died last Wednesday at the age of 85. www.blacklikemoi.com


Reported by Andrew Scot Bolsinger

Horace Silver, a pianist, composer, and band leader, credited for influencing generations of fellow Jazz performers died last Wednesday at the age of 85.

According to published reports, Silver is credited as being “a tireless inventiveness who influenced generations of jazzmen with his distinctive hard bop sound.”

Silver died Wednesday in New Rochelle, New York. No other details were released.

“Horace Silver was one of the hardest swinging piano players in jazz, both as a section player and a soloist,” said Ramsey Lewis, a pianist influenced by Silver. “Moreover, he was one of the finest human beings that walked the earth.”

Silver’s fame began as a pianist who moved to New York at the age of 21. He joined a rhythm section band for Jazz performer Stan Getz in the early 1950s. He played with Getz and other towering pioneers like Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, according to the Associated Press. He then began a series of collaborations and recordings that remain highly influential in jazz a half-century later. Silver formed a partnership with drummer Art Blakey that led to the album titled “Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers” in 1955.

Silver’s later albums include some considered milestone works, such as “Six Pieces of Silver” in 1956 and “Blowin’ The Blues Away” in 1959.

Silver said he was influenced by his father and other forms of music.

“It’s like making a stew,” Silver said in a 2003 “All About Jazz” interview. “You put all these various ingredients in it. You season it with this. You put that in it. You put the other in it. You mix it all up and it comes out something neat, something that you created.”

Songs like “The Preacher,” ”Song for My Father,” and “Filthy McNasty” came as a result of those experiments with other music forms.

“Horace Silver’s music has always represented what jazz musicians preach but don’t necessarily practice, and that’s simplicity,” bassist Christian McBride told NPR in 2008. “It sticks to the memory. It’s very singable. It gets in your blood easily. You can comprehend it easily. It’s very rooted, very soulful.”

Silver, born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva in 1928 in Norwalk, Connecticut, moved to Los Angeles later in his career. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1995 for his album “Hard Bop Grandpop” and in 2005 the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave him its president’s merit award, according the Associated Press.




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50 Comment

  1. I saw him with Jazz messengers in 1958 live at Birdland.

  2. My husband is a hard core Horace Silver fan. I don't know how many times. My husband say's he was an innovator when it came to music, especially only American art form. He will be missed.

  3. What a legacy and a true legend of jazz. Thank you Mr Silva for sharing your music with the world.

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  5. This man is synonomous with BLUE NOTE RECORDS and jazz piano, the likes of which will never be heard from again.

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